With the 2010-11 Big Ten hoops season now in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look to next year and offer some predictions. The Big Ten will lose its share of talent, but it returns a ton of firepower, as well. Ohio State, of course, will be chasing its third straight Big Ten crown, both regular season and postseason. Now for the predictions, which will almost certainly make me look silly in a year:
Player of the Year: Jared Sullinger, Ohio State – If Sullinger comes back for his sophomore season, he’s the first name in the discussion.
Coach of the Year: John Beilein, Michigan – The Wolverines ended this year playing like a Beilein-led team and it expects to return every single player.
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Craft, Ohio State – Craft could have won this award as a freshman who came off the bench, so he’s the choice.
The 2011-12 Darius Morris (Breakout Player): Josh Gasser, Wisconsin – Sure, Gasser started 30 games and had a triple-double this season, but he’s not a household name and he will assume a much bigger workload as a sophomore.
Big Ten Champ: Ohio State – Even if the Buckeyes lose Jared Sullinger and William Buford to the NBA, they are a serious threat.
Darius Morris, Michigan – The Big Ten’s best point guard not named Jordan Taylor
Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin – The Big Ten’s best point guard
Draymond Green, Michigan State – The Big Ten’s best do-it-all player
Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota – The Big Ten’s double-double machine
Jared Sullinger, Ohio State – The Big Ten’s best inside presence
Lewis Jackson, Purdue
Aaron Craft, Ohio State
William Buford, Ohio State
John Shurna, Northwestern
Melsahn Basabe, Iowa
Most Improved Team
Brandon Paul, Illinois
Jordan Morgan, Michigan
Alex Marcotullio, Northwestern
Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State
Josh Gasser, Wisconsin